Stellantis’ new Ram EV adds a tool for drivers who worry about running out of juice

One of the top reasons people give when they say they won’t buy an electric vehicle is range anxiety, the fear of running out of energy on the road with nowhere to recharge .

Stellantis’ Ram brand may have an answer to this problem, especially for people who need a truck to haul or tow things. It’s called the Ramcharger, a pickup that can travel 145 miles on electric power, with a 3.6-liter V6 gas engine connected to a generator that can recharge the battery while the truck is in motion.

Electric vehicle sales growth is starting to slow, forcing automakers to rethink huge investments in the historic transition from internal combustion to electric engines. Surveys show the reasons are cost, as well as limited autonomy and too few charging stationsunlike gas stations which are almost always nearby.

“A battery electric vehicle has a lot of benefits, but there are some things that slow people down,” says Tim Kuniskis, CEO of the Ram brand. With the Ramcharger, Kuniskis says he can tell customers “you don’t have to worry about that.”

Stellantis, which has been slow to introduce fully electric vehicles in the United States, is so confident in the appeal of the new powertrain that it is considering offering it in other vehicles. Although the company will not make any official comment, a new tentative agreement with the United Auto Workers says Stellantis plans to use the same power system in the Jeep Wrangler small SUV in 2028 and the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer large SUVs in 2025.

The Ramcharger, expected in showrooms late next year, uses 663 horsepower to go from zero to 60 miles per hour (zero to 97 kilometers per hour) in 4.4 seconds, the company says. And when the battery is fully charged and the generator’s 27-gallon (102 liter) gas tank is full, it can travel up to 690 miles (1,110 kilometers). The truck can also tow a trailer weighing up to 14,000 pounds (6,350 kilograms), more than the current Ram pickup with a V8 engine.

The battery can also be charged at home or at a DC fast charging station, where it can consume enough electricity to add 50 miles of range in about 10 minutes, Stellantis says. With a two-way home charging station, the truck can power your home in a storm, as well as tools on a job site, Ram engineers said.

Other companies offer gas-electric hybrid trucks for efficiency, and Ford’s can also power a home or tools at work. There are also plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that can travel a shorter distance on electricity before a hybrid powertrain comes into play.

The Ramcharger is unique, Stellantis says, because the gasoline engine simply produces electricity to charge the battery and doesn’t directly spin the wheels.

Although Kuniskis does not release projections, he said more than 20 percent of Ram sales will need to be powered at least in part by electricity in order to meet upcoming U.S. government requirements for fuel economy and broadcasts. Earlier this year, Stellantis revealed an all-electric Ram pickup called the REV.

Stellantis had the worst fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions of any major automaker, according to a 2022 report from the Environmental Protection Agency.

There is a segment of truck buyers who want the performance of an electric vehicle but don’t want to sacrifice range or towing, said Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst at Guidehouse Insights. High prices have kept many people away from electric pickup trucks offered by Ford, General Motors and Rivian, so Stellantis will have to keep the price reasonable, he said.

“They have a package that might be the right mix for people who would like to be able to go electric, have the performance of an electric powertrain but also have the confidence to travel long distances and tow a boat or jet skis,” he said. said. “They just have to stop and put gas on it.”

Demand for electric vehicles in the United States has began to stabilize after a few years of enormous growth. In August, for example, automakers sold nearly 111,000 electric vehicles, equivalent to 8.3% of the total market. But in September, sales fell to just under 106,000, or 7.9% of the market.

Electric vehicle sales in August were up nearly 60% from a year earlier, but in September the year-over-year growth rate fell to 56%, according to Analysts say electric vehicle inventories are increasing and prices are falling as demand stabilizes.

The Recharger is part of a revamped lineup of Ram pickup trucks that will arrive in showrooms starting early next year with an internal combustion engine version. The new trucks have upgraded interiors, suspensions and bodies, with a new RAM badge mounted higher on the grille.

The Ram 1500 pickup will be optionally equipped with a new 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline six-cylinder engine producing up to 540 horsepower. The new engine is more powerful than the Hemi V8 it replaces, Stellantis said.

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